Apparently it's not only your Kendall abuelita who likes a good Spanish-language soap featuring beautiful rich people, faked deaths, and middle-aged hunks with great hair.
We recently received a wonderfully obscure press release from Medley-based Venevision bragging that its novela Eva Luna is battling for the top spot in its time slot... in Hungary. Land of goulash.
Thoroughly intrigued, we called Venevision's director of public relations, Todd Michael Jamison. We got the feeling he hadn't had many reporters call him about that particular press release, but he obliged us as we grilled him about the show's success is Hungary. "The two main factors to its popularity there," Jamison ruminated, "is it's a universal story. It's summed up as being a rags-to-riches story. And the second is the Latin flavor. The romance."
Despite Hungarians' evident appetite for hot and heavy Latinos, Eva Luna is the only Spanish-language show to do so well there. It's filmed in Medley-- the little town on the outskirts of Hialeah-- but fictionally set in Los Angeles, and Hungarian television producers dub it into their native language.
As a crash course in the show, Jamison sent us a seven-paragraph synopsis of its plot up to this point. These few lines really gave us the gist:
While at the Arismendi mansion, Eva is mistreated by the jealous Victoria and her wicked mother, but establishes a close bond with Don Julio, who comes to love her like a daughter. After Don Julio fakes his own death, Eva leaves the house and everyone associated with it... and with the help of Don Julio, now in a secret new identity, she returns in a totally different persona: the stunning model named Luna, who happens to be the unexpected heir to the Arismendi fortune, left to Eva in Don Julio's will.
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So which show is Eva Luna battling for time slot supremacy? The dreaded "Ezel". It's a Turkish crime drama that totally cleans up at the İsmail Cems every year. One of the characters, Wikipedia tells us, is "Sekis": "Raised in lies and deception, he was led to believe his grandfather was responsible for his father's death."
So Hungarians really like their lies and deception and dubious deaths. And here we thought they were a peaceful, paprika-loving people.